Posted on Mar 25, 2016, 6 a.m.
Decade-long study of Greek residents reaffirms the potent heart health effects of the Mediterranean diet.
With previous studies suggesting it may support weight management, reduce the risk of diabetes, lower blood pressure and lower blood cholesterol, the Mediterranean Diet features fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, fish, olive oil, and a modest dose of red wine. Ekavi Georgousopoulou, from Harokopio University (Greece), and colleagues analyzed data from a representative sample of more than 2,500 Greek adults, ages 18 to 89 years, who provided researchers with their health information each year from 2001 to 2012. Participants also completed in-depth surveys about their medical records, lifestyle and dietary habits at the start of the study, after five years and after 10 years. Nearly 20% of the men and 12% of the women who participated in the study developed or died from heart disease. The researchers assessed the subjects diets, ranking them in terms of adherence to the Mediterranean diet. Those who closely followed the diet were 47% less likely to develop heart disease over the 10-year follow-up period, as compared to participants who were less compliant to the dietary style. For each one-point increase in the dietary score (indicating compliance with the Mediterranean diet) associated with a 3% drop in heart disease risk.
Panagiotakos DB, Georgousopoulou EN, Pitsavos C, Chrysohoou C, Metaxa V, Georgiopoulos GA, Kalogeropoulou K, Tousoulis D, Stefanadis C; ATTICA Study group. “Ten-year (2002-2012) cardiovascular disease incidence and all-cause mortality, in urban Greek population: the ATTICA Study.” Int J Cardiol. 2015 Feb 1;180:178-84.